A nice debate has been rippling across the NBA blogosphere. The debate started with Timmy's inclusion on the All-Star ballot as a center. A bit of an uproar ensued (allegedly including from Mrs. Duncan) and Timmy's poll position was changed to forward. A few opinions were posted on blogs. A couple few weeks passed. And then yesterdy, Hollinger helped transform the debate into the more interesting question: What is a True Center?
Humor me as I take this a step further...to an even more central Lig dilemma: Are there 5 positions in the NBA?
The traditional answer would be "Yes." Therefore, Isiah, Kidd, and Nash have played the same point guard position. They have simply maximized their skills by playing it differently. However, over the last two-or-so decades, this traditional argument has been challenged. What position did Worthy play? How about Pippen? And now Wade? A new consensus view has formed. This consensus has agreed on a basic 5 positions, but with an understanding of hybridity [e.g., Combo Guard (halfway b/n a sg and a pg) or Point Forward (halfway b/n a sf and a pg.)]
While this hybridity is a fair enough compromise, I want to pose an alternate solution: the evolutionary model. There may used to have been more-or-less 5, but the game evolves, and so do positions. Era-defining players carve out new roles and shatter traditional ones. For example, Dr. J fit in no simple category. Neither did Sir Charles. Not even Vlade Divac.
Here is my alternative position list with examples.
True Center - Wilt, Jabbar, Hakeem, Shaq, Yao
Euro C - Vlade, Brad Miller, Memo
Duck C - Duckworth, Dampier, Haywood
Block Defender: Mutombo, Rodman, Body, Ratliff, Camby
Long Forward - McHale, Timmy, Sheed, KG, Bosh
Strong F - Charles, Karl, Oke, LJ, Artest, Booz
Point F - Pippen, GHill, Tayshaun
King F - Bernard, Bird, Dirk, Melo
Star F - Dr. J, Kobe, Lebron, Manu, Tough Juice
Shooting F - Drazen, Thunder Dan, Hedo, Mike Miller, Korver
Swing Man - Worthy, Reggie Lewis, Gay
Shooting Guard - Reggie Miller, Ray-Ray, Rip, Redd
Combo G - Wade, Gilbert, Roy
Kidd G - Jason, Chauncey, Baron, Tinsley, DWill
Point G - Stockton, Price, Nash
Zip G - Isiah, AI, Parker, CP3
Torture G - Bowen, Bell, Hunter
6th man - First player off bench [avg's less than 30 mpg!]
Microwave - Vinnie Johnson, Boykins, Terry, Flip Murray
12th man - Maddog, Jasikevicius